“Vicki Reed paints a vivid picture of how our correctional system often fails to support children while valuing control over the cost of rehabilitation. She also reveals the strengths that can emerge when adults within the system step up to guide youth through hard times and trauma. Reed’s ability to capture the absurdities of our criminal justice system through the eyes of a teen will make you laugh, cry, and advocate for reforms. I highly recommend this book for adults and young adults alike.”

Marcy Mistrett, CEO, Campaign for Youth Justice

“When you try to change an immovable system, data are critical but exist in a cold fluorescent light that yearns for a human voice to give them context. Vicki Reed does that in The Car Thief,  placing the reader in the shoes of a young teen trapped in the criminal justice system. Writing in the first person, he describes everything from his tiny windowless cell and other barbaric conditions to his gnawing loneliness. This book will grab you and hold you till its satisfying ending.”

— Richard Ross, author of Juvenile-in-Justice and creator of Juvenile-in-Justice

“When it comes to foster care and the juvenile justice system, Vicki Reed knows what she’s writing about because she lived it—in service to the youth she so deeply understands. The story practically burst out of her, and you just might have a similar experience reading it. In fact, the characters become so real you can’t stop caring about them after the story ends.”

Mary Knight, author of Saving Wonder, winner of the 2017 Green Earth Book Award

“I am spellbound by this work. With every twist and turn, pragmatic questions regarding juveniles caught up in the criminal justice system are addressed through fiction well based in fact.”

— Clay Mason, retired FBI agent

“The author of The Car Thief is Vicki Reed and she needs to step up and claim her prize. Like the intrepid horses she muses about, who garner prestigious blue ribbons—this book is a winner! Early on, I was struck by the clarity and realism of her prose (she didn’t make this kid up—he’s too real) as well as his host of supporting and non-supporting characters, especially Sam, the grizzled corrections officer with a heart of gold and beguiling wit. I know he’s out there too. Maybe he’s in all of us who care passionately about kids, especially those  who have suffered the ravages of trauma. I’m thankful for books like this that bring the Kellys and Sams to life and pound us over the head with the simple truth that life is all about meaningful and dare I say it: loving relationships.
Please, read this book.

Charles Appelstein, MSW, author of No Such Thing as a Bad Kid